Most commentators have dismissed the so-called Jasmine revolution as an instant failure. Howard French argues in The Atlantic there is more to it than those easy analysis suggest.
At the simplest level, it is hard to understand how a call to protest can be declared a failure if it virtually causes a nation’s entire security apparatus to come out in force and to take extraordinary measures of one kind after another, as has happened in China.
Ever the great builder of walls, China responded to last week’s call for protesters to gather at a McDonalds in central Beijing by erecting barriers around the fast food establishment and deploying sanitation workers to hose down the streets to shoo people away. Watching over the scene were large numbers of policemen, both uniformed and plain-clothed, who didn’t hesitate to use muscle to bundle away suspected foreign correspondents, many of whom were then subjected to interrogations on camera…
On reflection, this might be a good time to take the Chinese authorities at face value. By their actions, they have all but declared this Jasmine moment to be of tremendous importance. By the same token, this is a good time to reconsider the hasty verdict of failure that many attached to this phantom movement.
Howard French is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. When you need him at your meeting or conference, do get in touch.